Belfast Telegraph

Jawbox gin maker secures major contract to supply Asda across the UK

By John Mulgrew

A Belfast gin company has landed a massive deal to sell its spirit into 500 Asda supermarkets throughout the UK, it can be revealed.

Jawbox will be sold at the supermarket giant's stores this month and is the latest and largest supermarket deal the gin business has landed after launching just last year.

It's the brainchild of Belfast barman Gerry White, along with distributor Drinksology and Co Down's Echlinville Distillery.

Jawbox is also on the shelves of almost 180 Marks & Spencer stores across the UK and Ireland, as well as Tesco and Sainsbury's in Northern Ireland.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last year, Gerry said that the company is eyeing up a new, larger still to meet the burgeoning demand for the award-winning spirit.

It's also looking at exporting the product to the United States.

Gerry, the former manager of The John Hewitt bar in Belfast city centre, has been working with Echlinville in Kircubbin to produce Jawbox and the new brand has been created in collaboration with distributor Drinksology.

"America is what we are going to concentrate on," he said.

Gerry added that he's confident the gin will do well. It's already championed by restaurateurs such as Michael Deane and Niall McKenna.

"It was February 22 (2016) when we launched it at the Linenhall Library," he said.

"The support from the home ground, from the hospitality industry here, has been unbelievable from the offset.

"You have the likes of Michael Deane, who names it on his menus, and Niall McKenna.

"When you get that sort of support, it's unbelievable.

"People must be enjoying it. It's selling, and it's selling at an unbelievable rate - you are talking about pallets.

"It's way above what our expectations would have been at this stage," Gerry added.

Jawbox is now being sold across dozens of bars in Northern Ireland, the Republic and throughout the rest of the UK.

Hastings Hotels, which includes the Europa and Culloden hotels, sells the spirit, along with the five-star Merchant.

And the popular gin is also being sold at Belfast International Airport.

Gerry's motivation for creating Jawbox came about when he saw the meteoric rise in popularity of craft beer in Northern Ireland and believed there was also a market for top-end gin.

There are now a number of different Northern Ireland gins on the market. These include Shortcross, which is produced at the grand Rademon Estate outside Downpatrick.

Meanwhile, Jawbox's producer, Echlinville, is now making its own gin. Echlinville Gin features two types of seaweed, dulse and kelp, along with gorse and is marketed to sit in the super-premium band.

Meanwhile, at the end of last year, Fermanagh's first gin distillery in 120 years hit bars across Ireland.

The Boatyard Distillery, near Enniskillen, only began brewing in April last year, but has already struck deals with distributors on both sides of the border.

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